Italian is spoken in Italy and is one of the official languages of the European Union. Extensive migration from Italy during the last 150 years has resulted in Italian being spoken in many other countries: in Europe, in North and South America, in North Africa and in Australia, where it is the second most widely-spoken community language.
The Italian language and culture have made a distinctive global contribution to politics, art, architecture, music, science, literature, film and theatre. Students have much to gain by acquiring knowledge of the language and cultural heritage of Italy.
Australian-born students of Italian background, as well as those from a non-Italian background, study Italian as a second language. Access to the language and culture in the local community is also readily available through community events (eg regional associations, festivals), newspapers and magazines, radio, television, films and the Internet.
Italy ranks among Australia’s top international trading partners in a mutually supportive trade relationship. A considerable number of Italian companies have branches in Australia.
The ability to communicate in Italian, in conjunction with other skills, may increase students’ vocational opportunities in the areas of tourism, social services, including hospitals, banks, and public agencies in general.